I’m Not Ready For My Meet This Weekend & I Don’t Care

By: 10/20/Journalist

I’m featuring myself this week – not due to lack of content, but because this is my article and I can do whatever the fuck I want with it. And I don’t have a training log on here, so I will take to PRS as my own personal diary for today.

A few weeks ago, I interviewed my teammate Zane about how the hell he works 70+ hour weeks, runs a 40-acre farm, and somehow finds the time to train and compete. He described his training layout for me: offseason training and absolutely no competing in the summer when the farm work is heavy and much more serious pre-contest training when the farm work goes into a maintenance stage in the winter.

Hmmmm…he works powerlifting around his personal life.

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SHIT. It all made sense now. Why the hell was I prepping (kinda) for a meet during finals week of not only my first semester of grad school, but also by far the most rigorous semester I’ve ever had?

HOLD UP. This girl has seriously featured lifters who deadlift with one arm, work 70+ hour weeks, and compete with their legs in casts…and she’s bitching about finals week at a subpar midwestern university?

That’s not it. At all.

Like Zane said, there are only so many hours in a day and sometimes some things have to take a back seat to others. I got my very first job on the day that I turned 16 and got a second job shortly after. I’ve worked two jobs almost 100% of the time since then, including now. I work as a personal trainer at the YMCA and I absolutely love my job. I love my clients, I love my co-workers, and I love my supervisors. I think it’s really important to love what you do for a living.

Shortly before the fall semester began in August, I was offered an assistantship at Wichita State University. Now the pay is mediocre at best, but being a full-time graduate teaching assistant makes me eligible for 100% tuition waiver. I am in my first semester of earning a MEd in Exercise Science, and that shit isn’t cheap. So yeah, I took the job. I instruct six hours of undergraduate coursework, but more importantly I coordinate the Center for Physical Activity and Aging.

So there’s that. What else? I am working on a research project with a student in the Psychology department titled “A Comparison of the Swype Keyboard on a Smartwatch While Walking and Standing”. I’m not going to take the time to explain to you why that’s important, but we’ve already been invited to present our findings and two conferences next semester. The first is next February. This has forced us to crank up our data collection rapidly to assure that we will be finished in time to put together a nice presentation package. On top of everything, I am taking 17 credit hours of graduate coursework (yes, squeezing every last penny out of my tuition waiver).

Boo hoo. Poor me. That’s what you’re thinking, right? When I signed up for my meet several months ago, I didn’t take any of this into account. Not because of ignorance, but because I wasn’t concerned. Like I said – I’ve had two jobs almost exclusively for seven years. I take heavy coursework every semester and have a 4.0. Why would this semester be any different than past semesters?

Because I am in this program solely because I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I am trying to find my place in this field and I won’t stop until I do. It is so important for me to take my research and my coursework seriously – it could mean finding my career. I am extremely obsessive, type A, and very much an overachiever. What do those kinds of people try to do in any and every situation? They try to be the best…at everything. But the best isn’t good enough. They want to be the very best, the top dog, #1 in any given scenario. Well guess what? Sometimes that just isn’t possible.

To quote 10/20/Life, “You should have a totally different mindset in the offseason than when you’re training for a meet. This means you need to consider having something of a normal life outside of trying to gain world-class strength.” Brian Carroll continues, “I’m not telling you that you won’t have to make some sacrifices, but if you use your time correctly and wisely, you can have the best of both worlds.”

So why am I not ready for my meet? Because this semester was not a time where I was willing to put the rest of my life on the backburner. I was not in a position to be able to give my all in training. I frequently got 3-5 hours of sleep, ate too much or not at all, and simply had too many other things that I truly had to get done. This resulted in – not skipped training sessions – but completely SHIT, half-ass meet prep. I expressed my concerns to Brian and prayed that he would tell me to drop out of the meet. I had no intention of competing “for fun”. I am a competitive athlete. I complete to win, not to have fun.

That’s where I realized that I was wrong. Somewhere powerlifting became not fun. It became a chore and a disappointment due to me not keeping up with my programming. “I hate powerlifting,” I cried to my husband after a horrible squat day. He replied, “If you hate powerlifting, then why are you doing it?” Woah. My husband was right. Somewhere down the line, I lost my head and forgot why I’m even involved in the sport in the first place.

I don’t actually hate powerlifting. I love powerlifting. Aside from my obvious adult obligations, my family, and my puppy, powerlifting is the most important thing in my life. I started doing it because I enjoyed it and the second I realized that I no longer enjoy it, I had to sit down and figure out why. Because if you don’t love what you’re doing, then why the fuck are you doing it? So I’m not cutting for my meet because that’s asking for trouble. Which will result in me not being competitive at all, but I’m okay with that. I’m going to go, do the best that I can do, do powerlifting things with my powerlifting friends, eat some BBQ, and have some fun.

Am I making excuses? I think on the outside, it might appear so. But sometimes some things have to go on the back burner, and unfortunately that was powerlifting for me recently. The takeaway? Schedule meets more efficiently when I know that I can have my head 100% in the game. No fucking around and more cohesive with my crazy ass schedule. So, I’m not ready for my meet this weekend. And quite frankly, I don’t care.

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Brian Carroll

Brian is a world-class powerlifter with over two decades of elite and pro-level powerlifting under his belt. Coming back from a devastating back injury in 2012 that broke multiple bones and that most experts said he would never recover from, he has returned to the pinnacle of world-class lifting (while 100% pain and symptom-free) and is now dedicated to helping others avoid the same mistakes that he made in the past through private and group coaching in Jacksonville, FL. Brian’s impressive recovery has given him the opportunity to teach and deliver talks to physical therapists, chiropractors, medical doctors, professional strength & conditioning coaches and experts from all facets of sport, on how to avoid injury, while building anti-fragile strength and resilience in athletes.
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